Sky Sports News reporter Michael Bridge analyses the key questions facing Ange Postecoglou at Tottenham; sorting Harry Kane’s future, implementing a new system, and deciding which players to keep or sell are top of the agenda as the Australian looks to get to grips with his new role
Ange Postecoglou officially started his new role as Tottenham head coach on Saturday, but he’s been working hard behind the scenes for nearly a month already.
Since the announcement of his appointment was made on June 6, the Australian has been planning thoroughly for what appears to be a huge job at Spurs, who face the reality of no European football for the first time since 2010.New Tottenham Hotspur boss Ange Postecoglou reveals his love for cricket after he was quizzed at Lord’s. Credit: Cricket Australia
Sky Sports News reporter Michael Bridge analyses the key tasks ahead of Postecoglou’s first season in north London.It’s well documented, the challenge that awaits Postecoglou at Spurs.
Ever since Antonio Conte’s rant at Southampton, it’s been a miserable few months for Spurs fans. Remarkably, Tottenham were fourth before Conte’s departure but, at times, it felt a false position with clubs around them having games in hand.
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Keeping Conte’s backroom staff with Cristian Stellini in charge was a mistake. Ryan Mason took charge for the remaining games with some ups and downs but, ultimately, the fans were waiting for the season to end.
With no European football next season, this looks to be the right time for a complete reset with changes at the top and with the playing squad.Unless you’re an Australian-based Tottenham supporter, you’d be hard pressed to find too many fans who had Postecoglou at the top of their list at the start of the managerial search.
Many fans were crying out for the return of Mauricio Pochettino; his name was even sung during some home games in March and April, but his return was never on the cards.
The club’s insistence that Julian Nagelsmann was not an active target surprised many and, after Arne Slot signed a new deal at Feyenoord, supporters began to fear this was turning into 2021 again with the appointment of Nuno Espirito Santo. This summer, however, certainly feels different.
Firstly, Tottenham had to wait and respect the fact Postecoglou had a Scottish Cup final to negotiate and complete a domestic treble.
Spurs also had changes at board level after Fabio Paratici’s departure. Scott Munn, Tottenham’ new Chief Football Officer, officially arrived on July 1 and is a huge fan of his fellow Australian, Postecoglou.
There will still be supporters who will be sceptical about the 57-year-old taking such a jump; the Premier League has never been more competitive.
However, the vast number of Celtic supporters are insisting Tottenham fans don’t yet realise what they’re getting in Postecoglou. His philosophy on fast attacking football has also excited plenty.
Tottenham’s previous high-profile managers, Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, often felt like they were doing the club a favour by being there. That doesn’t feel like it will be the case with Postecoglou.
Conte seemed to have little or no interest in renewing his contract which led to weeks of uncertainty.
I regularly attended the Conte press conferences and we were allowed to ask two questions per reporter. In return, you’d get a long, considered answer from Conte. His answer of, ”I’ll speak to the chairman at the end of the season’, felt completely unrealistic – and that turned out to be the case.
If Postecoglou can show the supporters a glimpse of his long-term vision in the opening home game against Manchester United, it could go a long way to earning their trust. They want to enjoy attending again.Despite reports elsewhere, Postecoglou is prepared to give everyone in the squad an opportunity to impress. His playing style will immediately determine who will be surplus to requirements if they don’t adapt.
However, a large number of players will leave the club over the coming months. There are also a few who have decided they fancy a new challenge, notably club captain Hugo Lloris, after 11 years at Tottenham.
Postecoglou already gave the green light to complete the permanent signing of Dejan Kulusevski and the Swedish international says he’s looking forward to working under the new head coach.
Then there’s the long list of players returning from loans: Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso, Sergio Reguilon, Bryan Gil, Joe Rodon and Djed Spence. With no European football, Postecoglou will have to be ruthless with decisions he makes, but he thrives on that and has done that at most clubs where he’s been successful.
It’s highly unlikely all of Tottenham’s bloated squad will travel to Australia for their pre-season match against West Ham. By then, we’re likely to have a much clearer indication of who has a future at the club.
Tottenham conceded 63 league goals last season, an embarrassing amount, and the futures of Davinson Sanchez and Japhet Tanganga will be up for discussion given the club are keen to bring in fresh faces at the back. Eric Dier has insisted he wants to fight for his place under Postecoglou.My understanding is that’s currently not on the agenda.
Postecoglou’s knowledge of the Asian market played a key role in Celtic’s brilliant first season under the Australian. It ultimately blew their rivals away.
Three of his very successful signings – Kyogo, Reo Hatate and Jota – will be upset about his departure and all look more than capable of playing at a higher level, but whether they are the required level for Tottenham is another question.
One you can now rule out is Jota, as he looks set to move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad.I’ve had many Celtic supporters tell me Tottenham fans are in for a treat with his style of play but to be patient as it’ll take a bit of time.
It’s fair to say it’s a complete 360 from what Spurs supporters have witnessed for the last few years. A short-passing game dominating possession is something Spurs fans haven’t seen for a long while.
It’s only been a few days, but you can see the difference in training methods from social media clips posted by Spurs.
Celtic dominated a vast majority of their matches; the big question is can Postecoglou transfer this to the Premier League, and this Spurs side?
Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham to-do list: Harry Kane future, transfers and implementing new style